5 Ways Around a Blackout
Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
July 31, 2012 --
A massive power outage swept across India Monday, leaving more than 600 million people without electricity. The United States is not immune to such grid failures. In 2003, a major blackout in northeastern North America affected about 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states. As the power grid ages and as the demand for electricity increases with the growth of populations, it's only a matter of time before we see more outages. At Discovery News Tech, we've covered plenty of devices designed to provide all walks of people alternative sources of energy. A few of these gizmos could provide you with just enough watts of energy to power small electronics, others will keep you cool, purify the water and cook your food. Here are few gadgets you might want to have handy in the event of a long-term power outage.
NEWS: Could a Smart Grid Curb Blackouts?
Liter of Light This low-tech solution for illuminating dark interiors is currently being developed in Manilla, the Philippines. But it would work just as well in the States, provided you're comfortable with the idea of sawing a hole in your roof. The light is made from a recycled plastic bottle filled with water and a little bleach. When installed in a roof -- sealant keeps it water proof -- the water inside the bottle disperses natural sunlight. This can be extremely useful, particularly if the utility companies are unable to get the power back up.
Camp Stove Charges Your iPod At some point, you'll need to eat. After you've looted the local Whole Foods for its sustainable meat and fish, cook it on the BioLite CampStove. This ingenious little stove burns wood to create electricity that can be used to power an LED light or charge a USB device. You might want to keep the iTunes down low, though, as gangs of thugs will be looking to steal your Whole Foods hoard.
Jonathan Globerson / Greenerator
Mini Wind Power By now you've moved your operations to a tree house, or some other high vantage point, where you can keep an eye on the horizon. That doesn't mean you have to go without electricity. Set up the Greenerator on a nearby branch and let the wind do its work. The miniature, half-dome-shaped wind turbine generates enough electricity to power a 32" flat panel TV. How you're going to get that up in the tree is beyond us, but you could use the energy to purify your water supply. See next slide.
Purify Your Water Everyone knows that during an extended power outage, when the world is in chaos, money will no longer matter. Water will be the currency. This nano-coated cotton water filter has no moving parts and uses very little power. When bacteria pass through several layers of cotton, an electrical field kills them with 20 volts of electricity for several seconds. ZAP! Now you call the shots. Why don't you start by getting the power back online?
'Cool' Shoes It can get a little stuffy, especially if the power is out for several days or even weeks. But don't break a sweat. Keep cool with these "minty fresh" shoes infused with a common sugar substitute. The Louis Garneau Carbon Pro Team shoes, designed for cycling, use the sweetener xylitol, to keep your feet tingling and refreshed and ready to run from the pillaging hordes.
WIDE ANGLE: Making the Grid Smarter